Welsh butchers sharpen their knives and skills for top contest

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Talented butchers across Wales are sharpening their knives as they prepare to put their skills to the test in the nation’s top butchery competition at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Builth Wells next month.

Welsh Butcher of the Year 2017 Daniel Allen-Raftery with his trophy and certificate.
27/11/2017 – Dan Raftery, of Randall Parker, Llanidloes wins first place in the Welsh Butcher of The Year competition at the Royal Welsh Show Winter Fair at the Royal Welsh Showground, Llanelwedd.
Pic: Mike Sheridan
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Winner of the contest, on Tuesday, November 27, will win the coveted Welsh Butcher of the Year title together with a cheque for £130. The runner up will receive £70 and all the finalists will receive a trophy.

There is no age limit to the competition and butchers, who must work or live in Wales, have until 5pm on November 12 to submit their entries. The entry form, which may be downloaded at www.cambriantraining.com/wp/en/welsh-butcher-of-the-year-competition/ , must be sent to Katie George, Welsh Butchers Competition, Cambrian Training Company, Tŷ Cambrian, Unit 10 Offa’s Dyke Business Park, Fisher Road, Buttington, Welshpool, SY21 8JF

A judging panel will then choose the finalists who will face a true test of their butchery skills over three tasks in front of an audience in the Cambrian Training Pavilion at the Royal Welsh Showground.

They will be given an hour to seam a leg of pork, 70 minutes to create kitchen ready products for customers from a mystery box of ingredients and 90 minutes to create a visually exciting barbecue meat display using a whole chicken, topside of Welsh Beef, leg of Welsh Lamb and topside of pork.

The judges will be looking for new, creative ideas and the finalists will be scored for their cutting technique, added value, display techniques, HACCP and personal hygiene and maximum carcass yield.

Sponsored by Cambrian Training Company, Hybu Cig Cymru/Meat Promotion Wales and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, the competition is an important stepping stone to UK-wide competitions.

The winner will have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of talented butchers like Peter Rushforth and Matthew Edwards, who have both represented the UK and won the Butchery WorldSkills UK National Competition.

Last year’s Welsh Butcher of the Year, Daniel Allen-Raftery, 35, from Randall Parker Foods, Llanidloes and runner-up Craig Holly from Neil Powell Butchers, Abergavenny, a former Welsh Pork Butcher of the Year, will be competing in the Butchery WorldSkills UK National Competition final at the NEC, Birmingham from November 15-17.

Arwyn Watkins, Cambrian Training Company’s managing director, said: “The Welsh Butcher of the Year competition provides the perfect platform for the best butchers in Wales of all ages to showcase their skills at a major event.

“It’s a huge honour to be named the best in Wales at your chosen vocation and I would encourage people visiting the winter fair to come and watch these highly skilled butchers demonstrating their skills and meat display techniques.”